Turtle Beach has a reputation for making quality headsets, and the company is certainly at the top of its game with the Ear Force P11. I haven’t had much experience with headsets apart from the standard Xbox 360 wired one and a Nokia Bluetooth headset, so I wasn’t prepared for the amazing audio and excellent chat functionality that the P11 provides.
The Ear Force P11 is a lightweight, wired stereo headset designed for PS3 but also fully compatible with PC and Mac. It’s powered by USB so you don’t have to worry about refreshing batteries or recharging the headset. The unit comes with everything you need to get the most out of it, including an extension that has a headphone jack on one end and red and white AV plugs on the other end that connect to the audio out jack on your TV or sound system. The cable attached to the headset is 3.7m (12 ft.) so you can sit relatively far away from your TV without it pulling taut.
The P11 headset is a cinch to set up on PS3 as you can set it as your microphone input and output device under the relevant section of the XMB. The same applies to using it with a PC as the headset’s drivers are automatically installed on your system the first time you plug it in and programs like Skype detect it immediately (you simply need to select it as your microphone). I was hoping the PS3 karaoke game SingStar would let me use it as a microphone but unfortunately it’s very picky when it comes to which mics are supported.
One of the P11’s nifty features is that it comes with a rectangular control unit that is positioned about a quarter of the way down the cable. You can use this unit to turn the mic on or off, or adjust volume levels for game and chat separately. This latter feature is very handy as it allows you to get both levels perfect depending on the game you are playing, and it’s quick and easy to adjust each channel on the fly when the situation calls for it. The control unit also has a clip on its back so you can secure it somewhere that’s either within easy reach or out of the way.
As far as audio goes the Ear Force P11 delivers exceptional quality from both a headphone and headset standpoint. The sound quality is superb, with the P11’s 50mm speakers offering amplified stereo audio and fixed bass boost (+6dB @ 50Hz) for a truly immersive experience. Don’t be surprised if you hear sounds and effects that initially escaped you when listening to a game through your TV’s speakers. For instance, there is a certain NPC in Dark Souls whose voice has an echo since he’s confined in a cell carved into the side of a mountain. I only realised this when playing the game using the P11 headset – which just goes to show how many sound subtleties most gamers using a standard setup miss out on.
The Ear Force P11 also boasts clear chat audio and has a mic monitor so you can quickly determine if your mic needs to be moved closer or further away from your mouth for optimum communication.
The P11 has a sleek, simple design incorporating black, red and white that’s hard to fault. The fabric mesh ear cushions are super comfortable and the headset is pleasingly lightweight. The adjustable mic arm is very flexible and only about 3mm wide. However, the cushioning on the top of the headset is slightly inadequate as I felt the top part of the unit digging into my head after an hour or two of usage.
The Ear Force P11 is currently R820 at TAKEALOT which may seem a bit pricey for a wired stereo headset. However, it’s definitely worth adding to your list of gaming must-haves given that it can be used as a high quality pair of headphones as well as a headset and is compatible with both PS3 and PC.
|Aesthetics||5/5||Sleek and compact|
|Quality||5/5||Solid build quality and design|
|Functionality||5/5||Easy to set up and the control unit enables perfect volume balancing|
|Value||3/5||A little bit pricey for what you’re getting|